Video: Nicaraguan Protesters Tear Down Statue of Hugo Chávez as U.S. Pulls Embassy Staff

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

Protesters in Nicaragua tore down a monument to the late Venezuelan revolutionary leader Hugo Chávez as protests against the left-wing regime of Daniel Ortega continue to rage across the country.

Video footage shows protesters celebrating as the monument to Chavez collapses in the capital city of Managua, amid fierce anti-government protests over social security reform.

Chávez, who died in 2013, remains a celebrated figure by Latin America’s remaining left-wing governments for his reforms as Venezuelan president, which have since led the country into the worst economic and humanitarian crisis in its history.

Similar incidents against Chávez monuments have taken place in Venezuela, with footage last from the western state of Zulia showed people stomping on a Chávez statue while others hurled insults at it.

Last May, protesters also burned down Chávez’s childhood home, as well as the former home of his grandmother, and attacked a number of government buildings with Molotov cocktails during a protest cycle that claimed hundreds of lives.

Meanwhile, in Nicaragua, at least 10 people have died and over 400 hundred injured in protests over welfare reform, as well as concerns over leftist president Daniel Ortega’s clampdown on the free press and attempts to turn the country into a socialist dictatorship.

On Sunday, Ortega revoked the planned changes, as he attempted to end the crisis amid increasing international scrutiny over potential human rights abuses.

“The previous resolution of April 16, 2018, which was the resolution that kicked off this whole situation, is being revoked, canceled, put aside,” Ortega said.

In response to the crisis, the State Department called on the Nicaraguan government to show greater respect for human rights amid reports of police brutality. The U.S. has since pulled all embassy staff out of the country and suspended consular services.

“The United States calls for a broad-based dialogue involving all sectors o‎f society to resolve the current conflict, restore respect for human rights, and achieve a better, more democratic future for all Nicaraguans,” said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert in a statement.

“We also call on the Nicaraguan government to allow journalists to operate freely and restore all television coverage to the air,” she continued. “Additionally, we urge the government to allow an independent investigation and to prosecute those responsible for the deaths.”

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